Right-Wing Candidates Can Take The Red States, But In 2014 That Won’t Be Enough

 

 

 

 

” Senate Republicans won’t lack bull’s-eyes next year. They can target seven Democratic seats in red states, two of which will be open races—West Virginia and, if Sen. Tim Johnson retires as expected, South Dakota. And except for North Carolina, each is a dark blush of red; Mitt Romney won them all by more than 10 points. The lineup should give Mitch McConnell plenty of pickups.

But they might not be enough. Assuming that Democrats win this year’s special election in Massachusetts, Republicans will have to win a near-perfect six of these seven races to take the majority. That’s a tough challenge: The party has never managed to defeat more than three Democratic incumbents in any of the past five elections. If Republicans want to control the Senate in 2015, they will need to move beyond the obvious targets.

It’s a goal the National Republican Senatorial Committee is vowing to achieve, and there’s reason to think it can be successful. Blue and purple states such as Colorado, Minnesota, and New Hampshire are also on next year’s Senate map. They lean left and have an incumbent, but in a midterm election they won’t be automatic keepers for Democrats. Older, white voters constitute a greater share of the electorate in midterms than in presidential years. White voters were 72 percent of the electorate in last year’s presidential race but 77 percent in the 2010 midterms, according to exit polls. In this cycle, the electorate will likely be more diverse than in 2010 but less than in 2012.”